The majority of first-time buyers have not had to pay stamp duty since the holiday on the tax began two years ago, according to new research.
Under the current rulings, first-time buyers are not required to pay stamp duty on any property worth £250,000 or less. However, when the stamp duty holiday comes to an end on March 24th, only purchases under £125,000 will be free of stamp duty.
New figures from HSBC revealed that 331,899 UK consumers took their first steps on the property ladder between March 24th 2010 and the end of 2011.
Of this group, 89 per cent of purchases were for properties worth less than £250,000, meaning 286,299 first-time buyers were not eligible to pay stamp duty.
Peter Dockar, head of mortgages at HSBC, said: "We have seen a 20 per cent increase in approvals for first-time buyer loans in the first six weeks of the year as they rush to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday."
Many UK consumers are still likely to benefit from stamp duty-free purchases even after the end of the holiday, with HSBC figures showing that average first-time buyer property prices are below the usual stamp duty threshold of £125,000 in eight out of 12 UK regions.